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18 helpful tips to traveling alone

Traveling alone is my favourite way to travel. It’s freedom, independancy and courage.

It isn’t for everyone but it’s sure one heck of an experience.

Exploring the Tomb Raider Jungle Temple at Ankor Wat


1.Stay in big mixed dorms

First thing first, they’re always cheaper. Large mixed dorms are normally filled with a diverse load of backpackers. It pushes you to meet other people and an easy way to start a conversation, after all, you are sleeping in the same room.

I find the types of people who book these types of room are more on the same trip as me so it’s great to meet people doing the exact same as you.

Privacy is low and it’s not for everyone but the best way to meet people!

I normally opt for the biggest mixed dorms. There are many places that also provide female rooms.

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Click here to check out what hostels are where! #Hostelworld

2. Make friends

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As daft as that may sound, make genuine friends. I don’t mean small talk and just having company around hostels.

Spend time with people, go out on adventures with others and actually keep in contact. These guys will become some of your closest friends, and sometimes the most helpful. Some of the people you meet are sharing once in a lifetime experiences. These people are important.

3. Do things on your own

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Traveling on your own means you have the freedom to do what the f**k you want. Make the most of it. I enjoy my own company and really don’t mind spending time alone

Spend time doing what you want to do. Trust yourself and learn about yourself.

Magnetic Island / Australia

5km weekly run through the banana paddocks / Queensland

4. Don’t be afraid to tag along

Don’t be too shy to just tag along. There’s millions of times you’ll have to ask and theres so many people in the same boat. Get over it.

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Backpackers are always keen for getting together a good group. There’s other solo travelers looking to hang out together.

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5. Eating alone is absolutely fine

When traveling on your own there will countless times you will eat out alone. Maybe start going out for some lunch by yourself. This is one of my favourite things to do.

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Tons of travelers are out solo. Go places you enjoy. You’ll meet people who enjoy the same thing.

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6. Keep something comforting with you

Have something with you that may remind you of home or have some sort of comforting belonging.

After 9 weeks working and living in the middle of nowhere, We are escaping for the weekend! No normality, tough graft, bush life and basic living, I am free to explore Cairns for the first time! Now for the 4 hour drive back to the real world!! #Travel #Queensland

A pillow, photo, blanket are great. Any belonging is great, aslong as you can travel with it. Sorry guys, your pet probably wont work.

I have Grumpy. My favourite, old, dirty, funny looking Grumpy from Snow white and the seven drwarfs. Anyone who know’s me will know of him. He has traveled over 33 countries with me.

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7. Let someone know where you are

There will be times when you’re on your own, you’ll go off radar a tad. It happens however it’s important to send over details over long journeys, and places you’re staying. Even just keeping up to date with facebook and contacting with family & friends is great for everyones benefit.

8. Self timer is genius

I get so many comments on my photos and I really couldn’t get so many of them if it wasn’t for self timer. I have to grab some of these amazing moments and there isn’t a person in sight.

I use GoPro Hero3+ for my timed images.

Not a fan of them myself but selfie sticks are great to use when on your own. Others don’t mind taking a few photos for you, if you say please of course.

9. Listen to your gut

You have to listen to yourself. This is the time in your life when you can actually learn about yourself. Simple as. Trust yourself, you need too.

10. Stay in sociable hostels

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Pai Circus Hostel / North Thailand

If you need to a push to mingle, head to sociable places. Get ideas of places to stay when talking to other travelers. See what the reviews are. I’m not a massive boozer wanting to go out every night, I prefer chilling in hammocks and jamming any day however they are an ideal place to get chatting. They don’t all mean its constant partying, but give some busier places a go.

Sometimes smaller hostels are easier to meet people as there are less people to approach.

11. Take responsibility

I am not going to sit here and tell you to take responsibility, but I’m going to remind you that you’ll have to make decisions that will carry large responsibility, just for yourself. Things may not be the same then at back home.

12. Tours on your own are fine

I tend to avoid tours when away. A lot of tours are things you can do yourself, that just save the hassle of the research and resources you may need for an extra financial cost. Saying that, there are numerous trips that are totally worth it.

Someone double booked and ended up giving me a day out in Queenlands rainforest, I joined a big group and loved every second!

13. Have some sort of back up map

Remember you won’t get internet everywhere. Even if its a drawing, noted down address or directions. A screen shot maybe, have some back up if you’re arriving somewhere completely new.

Even having an adress in the local language can help you if lost.

 

14. Know the place of where you’re staying.

When you’re alone you don’t have many looking out for you. Like mentioned earlier, you need to take responsibility so therefore it’s best to know where you’re staying. In any situation, if you get lost or really don’t know where you are, at least you know where you need to get back too!

15. Leave details at home

I always leave a copy of my passport, any insurance details and random bits like my visa documents, National insurance numbers and even important passwords and personal files I may need. It’s helpful to keep copies back with people you trust.

16. Be respectful to the locals

Wherever you travel its important to be respectful to the locals. You’re entering there local towns and communities. Immerse yourself into there traditions and live within there cultures. It helps to meet people and can really keep you out of trouble.

17. Not everyone needs to know you’re alone

One tip my mum mentioned to me once, not everyone needs to know. If you’re uncomfortable, occasionally mention a boyfriend. family member thats traveling with you. Don’t always draw too much attention that you literally don’t know anyone, because sometimes, you don’t.

18.Drink in moderation

Im 22 and really not trying to sound like a Grandma, for those who know me, I love going out. I’ve partied, a lot, worked three seasons abroad and worked in the nightlife of Leeds city centre since I was 16 and work within cocktail bars however, I rarely drink.

When traveling on your own, you just need to be a little more aware of where you are when drinking.

 I get other enjoyments from the places I go and things I can go and do!

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The reality of Australian second year visa farm work

The reality of Australian Second year visa work

Sure most of us have heard about second year visa work.

13 consistence weeks on the same farm or 88 days of some kind of agriculture work to gain a second year visa in Australia.

Sydney #operahouse #sydneyharbour #travelsydney #wanderlust #nikon

Hearing numerous things regarding farm work, I had a good idea how it all worked, however I don’t think anything can prepare you for the real thing.

Almost everyone says, do it for the experience and boy is it one!

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I'm English and its November, I can't complain too much. ☀️

Still smiling despite reaching 43 degree dry heat. Considering I’m English and its November, I can’t complain too much. ☀️

 

In this blog,
I can only go off my experiences and knowledge, working on a banana farm as apposed to others all over Australia, never the less, I sure had a real Australian, backpacker, bush living, full time farm work experience and I’m writing this to help understand, inform and share this experience for me and many others!

New job role: Driving the tractor // 7am out in the banana paddys with the lads ☀️

Where?

North Tropical Queensland

4 hours North of Cairns, Lakeland.

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Four farms, one accomadation and 50-80 backpackers.

Family dinner // Farmlife

Sitauted far from much sense of normality, the closest city was Cairns, over a 4 hour drive.

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Home

The closest town was Cooktown, an hour drive north, around 15 years out of date, a basic town with only approx 2,000 as their population.

As mentioned in other blogs, travel tip, don’t have expectations. It’s hard not too especially when you already have loads of information however I never expected something quite like this.

Bush living #Australia #NorthtropicalQueensland

Bush living

Getting the job

After 6 months traveling solo around Asia, and just under three months living in Melbourne, I decided farm work was a favourable option.

Making calls to hostels and farms around Innisfail and others around Cairns, I wasn’t getting much luck. I had booked a flight up to Cairns as I wanted to be in Queensland.

Helpful places offering work; Gumtree. Facebook. Travel agents

Farm work is a pretty last minute thing. Jobs come and go and staff are normally needed asap.

On the Monday of leaving to Cairns, I called round more working hostels as last minute seemed to be the best option.

‘The job is yours if you are here by tomorrow’

Arriving past midnight, a few hours sleep at Gilligans and a 7am pick up I was off the next morning.

Here we go again. My rucksack & I can't stay in the same place for longer then 3 months. Melbourne, you have not let me down. The friends and memories I have from such an awesome city, but I have to continue my worldwide adventures. Heading to the outback. Melbourne, I'll see you soon. #travel #solobackpacker

Farm work tends to happen very quickly, there are so many people looking for work they normally want immediate starts, hence why last minute seems to be the best option.

When looking for farm work, try give yourself the flexibility to just get straight to the job.

Sometimes it’s a matter of constantly checking or work and just calling up and hoping there are places.

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Be aware

There are, like always, a few dodgy farms and people get messed around so it’s worth doing a little research on where you are heading or speaking to people in the area.

I’ve heard stories of travelers completing their time however not being signed off.

Unfortunatley, on most farms, no job is secure. Everyone is so easily replaced so incase of the worst, try not to leave farm work too last minute.

If you do leave or get sacked, however still want to continue farm work. You will have to complete 88 days to be signed off, which can work out a lot longer.

Bush life

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The nature and scenery looked like something from David Attenborough, legit.

(Fun fact: His favourite rainforest is in Queensland)

The farm and accomadation surroundings where just sensational. Miles of nothing but land. Wild wallabies, crazy insects, surreal surroundings and sensational sunsets, it was hard not to enjoy the lifestyle.

Friday's off. 35degrees.

Friday’s off. 35degrees.

Farm life is normally tough graft, easy living.

Long days, short weeks we all used to say on the farm.

Other then attending work and getting on with it, life wasn’t too stressful.

It’s a strange living condition as you live and work with the same people as there is no one else around. We felt like we were in the TV show, Big Brother.

Saturdays. Farm life.

Saturdays. Farm life.


Work

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13 weeks.

6.30am pickup.
Every morning 4/5 days a week.

Depending on which farm you worked on, was dependant on what bus you got and off you went for the day. Water, lunch, coffee, sun cream, hat, phone, go.

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane! #Queensland #Australia #farmwork #fly

Checking out all the farms from up high in a tiny little plane!

Let me tell you, the fun of it all can ware off as the work gets tough.
It was go from day one and that was going to be it for the next 13 weeks. I kind of had absolutely no other option other then to get the heck on with it.

Pay was hourly, which I highly reccomend.

Comission work isn’t always great pay and there is no garuntee there is always enough fruit.

Rules

Girls in the shed. Guys in the paddocks.

There were particular about male and female roles despite being one of the only females to do a males job and I luckily got to work in the paddocks!

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There are jobs for guys in the shed, who will be named ‘shed bitches’.

There are a number of reasons for girls and guys having certain jobs.

A. Sexism. This is outback Australia we are talking about.

B. The heat is so intense, the guys are more reliable for work in the hot weather.

C. The cutting & humping are so physical, the height on the banana trees, and weight of some of the banana bunches do make it a ‘mans job’. End of.

Jobs:

Female – Sorting, Hanging, Stacking, Packing, Cutting and Weighing.

Sounds like some kind of joke. It’s not.

Male – Stacking, Humping, Hanging, De-hanging, Driving.

Shed life: No talking. No music. Nothing but machinery. We occasionally made small talk and had a little giggle. Almost got sacked my first few days for talking. I guess some things never change.

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Routine

You eventually get the hang of things. It takes a few days and thankfully help from the others, you get to know what to wear, what to take to work, how the days pan out etc.
You work out what time to get up at and how much sleep you really need.

After a few weeks you really get into a routine. As a backpacker always on the move, it felt wierd being back in my own little room and working long days.

Make the most of the routine. I used my time to loose some weight, get my fitness back, chill out, earn some money and still travel parts of North Queensland.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Escaped the farm for the day.

Girls. Forget the nice hair and make up. Think banana gunk, dirt, water, sweat and occasionally tears, you get used to it. Your clothes will get ruined, your shoes will have to stay at work and hats or normally requested or just needed.

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Lads. Think sweat, dirt and pure banana sap.

Either way. It’s thought graft.

It’s a pretty easy life in a way. As long you as you’re ready for the bus, get on it and get on with the farm work, there’s not too much to worry about. It’s an experience like no other and isnt supposed to be straightfoward.

It’s more of a challenge, mentally.

Long, tedious, repepative work. Treated pretty shit at times. Crazy tempretures and basic living.

At my farm, we had the same job everyday. If you sorted bananas, that’s what you did all day every day. I know a lot of farms mix it up however it can feel endless.

The lads and eventually me when I was put onto as the tractor driver, had to spend hours in the tropical scorching sun where it reached up to 45 degrees. I give it to the lads physically working out while cutting and humping the bananas, it’s fucking hot.

As much as farm work was challenging, I'm going to miss the crazy days, scorching sun, silly banter and unbelievable nature. #Bananafarm #Queensland #Farming

The job is a valuble spot and can very easily be suspended. I almost lost my job the last week of my farmwork purely as they had to cut down staff. I had backpackers on my farm getting sacked and sometimes there isn’t always full time work.

Each job is so easily replacable so it’s important to work hard. It’s easy to want to quit, have days where you feel it’s not worth it.

It helped spending time in Australia beforehand. Despite only living in Melbourne for a couple of months, it was enough for me to genuinly want another year in Australia at some point.

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It’s an experience like nothing else, full of lessons, memories, learning new skills, banter, nature and a different Australian experience.

 

 


 

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The transition. Asia – Australia Part 1; Before I leave

Before I leave.

HOLY MOLY. Here I am, 6 months later on my last few days in Asia before Australia.

  What a whirlwind of emotions right now. Gutted to leave Asia. Excited to see Australia. Strange to be further away from home but closer to a more westernised and civilised lifestyle. It’s an odd subject I really don’t hear many people talking about but a journey a lot of us make.

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It’s a major adaptation. We’re used to moving countries, learning new currencies and blagging our way through backpacking crazy places but this is different.

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Trying street food in Penang, Malaysia pre thunderstorm.

Heading to Australia after traveling in Asia will be a huge shock. I don’t quite know what to expect however everyone’s telling me the same. They love it and I know I’m ready for the challenge. australia

The worries.

What if it’s so cold? What if it’s too expensive? What if I can’t get work?

These things will always run through your head but remember, Worry is a misuse of imagination.

I’m even further away from home, the furthest possible point for us English across the world.Planet-Earth-picture

The perks. I’ll be back in civilisation, I’ll have more access to home comforts. I’ll see friends I’ve not seen in ages and catch up with ones I’ve made in Asia. Even the little things we become accustomed too in Asia like everyone speaking English, fresh air, routine.

Do I want that yet? I don’t know. We will have to find out.

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Beach front bungalows for $30 US!

The adapting. For me, price is going to be the weirdest. I can get bags of laundry done for £2.50. A taxi across the city for £3. A big meal for £1. Spending AU $8  a night on clean and safe accommodation in beautiful locations. Australia is back to western prices. I have little money and need to make it stretch until I get a job.QUP88wFp

Weather. For those that know Australia, I fly into winter. For Melbourne, where I’m heading, it’s cold. Like coat and scarf kind of cold. I am coming from 35+ degree heat. I have one pair of jeans I bought in Hanoi and a little black hoodie. It’s safe to say, I am not prepared.

Lifestyle. Back to work. Back to paying rent and bills. Finding a new group of friends, and not just for a couple of nights. Hostels in Asia are so sociable and it’s so easy to meet people. I’m moving to a new city, in a new country and it is not Asia.

I luckily have a good friend to stay with and know people that can help me with accommodation while I get on my feet. For those going straight to hostels, they will still be sociable but a totally new environment.

Fundamentally.. So I promised I would do 6 months in Asia, and I did it! With some mental, occasionally physical and definitely financial challenges, I made it. And I’m still in one piece feeling as strong as ever. It’s normal to feel a roller coaster of emotions. Not just coming from Asia but all over the world including England. You know it’ll all work out.

Have a little bit of cash, your visa sorted and a positive mind and it’ll all work out.

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Want to find out what’s been going on since I landed in Australia. Read Part 2 here. (Coming soon).